Dandelions, building a home and the power of speaking French: An Interview with Marion Coppleston

My interview with Marion is a beautiful twin to my interview with Laura, not only because I met both of them while staying in Marion’s home. Like Laura, Marion bought land in the Canadian Maritimes and built an off-grid home on it. And also like Laura, Marion traveled solo as a young woman, including in hitchhiking in Europe. Only Marion was doing it all a few decades earlier. In this interview she also speaks about how studying french and teaching industrial arts lead her to these adventures, as well as her involvement in choirs and PEI’s Earth Day Expo and Dandelion Festival.




How to step outside of your comfort zone – 3 Key lessons from my real Yes Man experiment

How to step outside of your comfort zone

3 Key lessons from my real Yes Man Experiment

yes! graffiti wall


Each year, I choose a new experiment to live my life by. Can you imagine completely giving up control and saying ‘Yes’ to every opportunity that comes your way, regardless of the consequences?


Lesson 1 – The Universe constantly provides opportunities


…But we are too stuck in our own routines to notice. Take a moment to imagine that you have just given a gift to your friend. To your shock, they act disinterested, or ungrateful or, worse, it causes them to worry even more than usual. Would you want to ever give them another gift again?


How about if, when you imagine the same scene, they receive your gift with warmth instead? They marvel at it, and watching them take time to fully enjoy the experience brings a smile to your face. The art of giving becomes a gift in itself. You can’t wait to do it again.


Opportunity is allocated in exactly the same way. How do you receive the opportunities that life gifts to you? Do you seize them with joy, or do you begin a debate? Do you exhaustively weigh up the pros and cons, whilst considering each potential outcome and, on occasion, talk yourself out of making a decision at all?


Yes Man releases you from this internal conflict because there is only one possible answer. You can be free to fully immerse yourself in the experience. You become aware that opportunity surrounds you. You let go of your need to constantly control the outcome. After all, the consequence is no longer linked to your personal decision or choice. You just enjoy the ride. With this approach, you will be rewarded with more gifts than ever before.


Lesson 2 – The Earth is your training ground


As you begin to pay attention to the opportunities gifted to you, you will begin to develop a natural curiosity. What does this ‘yes’ mean? Will it have a positive outcome? If not, why did this happen to me? What is it trying to teach me?  


The mysterious nature of the universe will become obvious. You will be provided with all of the resources, people and lessons that you might need to guide you along the path of becoming the person you were meant to be.


I lay on the sofa, facing upwards, looking at the ceiling. The dog felt my pain and tried to lick my feet, to heal me. I couldn’t risk the infection. Second-degree burns blazed across the soles of my feet following a firewalk. I searched for a meaning as to why I was in this position. Why I had been left my most vulnerable, reliant on another human to lift me naked into the bath and help me use the toilet? I would still try to be independent. In the hour and half, it would take me to walk the 8 minutes to the grocery store, I had time to stop and chat to homeless people. I would choose to feel blessed, and feel abundant, and ensure to provide to make sure that they had a warm bed to sleep in that night. I vowed to myself that when I was able to walk again I would treat my health as a priority, as without that we are incapacitated in many areas of life. I would later trek 2-3 hours per day as I felt so lucky to have my legs back.


Your inability to control the outcome, or feel that you can control the outcome, will place a demand on you to trust the process. Everything is unfolding exactly as it’s meant to be, exactly when it’s meant to be. You will frequently find yourself in the right moment, at exactly the right time. I would find myself running into old friends in bizarre locations, such as walking through the back streets of residential Bangkok. On these occasions, I would hang on every word the person said – trying to understand what I was supposed to learn from this chance occurrence.


I became alive and switched on. This high level of presence improved my memory and I was able to make people feel more special as I learned to truly listen to them.


Lesson 3 – New possibilities can change the direction or focus of your life


Letting your fears rule your path is a sure way to miss out on life. If you ask me now what my deepest fear is, I’m most afraid to never have truly lived.


My YesMan experiment somehow led to me becoming a location independent digital nomad. I write this, sitting in Florence. It had always been a dream of mine to live in Italy, and this is truly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. I also became deeply contribution driven which inspired me to start a social network in North Thailand, designed to be a platform to showcase the most talented members.


I learned to open my mind, and as I was forced out of my comfort zone, I was led to my soulmates. During this experimental year, I met the two loves of my life. If I had met them in any other moment, there’s no way that I would have let them anywhere near to my heart. One because he was my opposite. He embodies Chaos, while I was Law & Order. It turns out that he is my perfect balance. He is wonderfully creative, an artist, and completely covered in tattoos and piercings. The other was practicing an open relationship, which I’d never heard of at the time. He showed me what it means to be a powerful, feminine force as we became the best versions of ourselves in each other’s company. Thanks to this experiment, this is the most loved I’ve ever felt.


About the Author

Serena Rach is a British entrepreneur and Chiang Mai’s #1 Events host, who founded the widely popular Digital Nomad networking group – CNX Social. Experienced in course creation, Serena built the newly designed product for IGotAnOffer: McKinsey PST & Case Interview Preparation, downloaded by 20,000 students from over 180 countries. Serena is the host of the Course Creators Conference 2019.

Orgasms: How we need to stop conflating the gender axis with the gender cause.

What is gender? In this article we will treat of mainstream gendered matrix, as well as heterosexual encounters.

Many authors define it differently. a materialist definition proposes that gender is a set of socially dictated norms that place two binary poles in asymetric opposition to one another. These poles, masculine and feminine, represent classes or groups that an individual can belong to.
Now, there can be other genders, these binary walls can be broken, and subverted. But the maisntream discourse (hegemionic discourse) proposes the model we’ve just exposed.

This model creates a system which values the masculine over the feminine and is iterated through institutions, discursive practices and identity formation.
We can round this up to patriarchy.

The word. We know it. It has a ring to it that is nearly ominous.

It is, in a sense, ominous. Patriarchy is the source of immense suffering, multiplied by billions of people to different degrees. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you are part of that system.
This is a key information to keep in mind.
This also means that the needs it creates are important, and sometimes necessitate shortcuts. One of those shortcuts is identity politics.
We round up people under an umbrella term that doesn’t completely represent them in order to be able to gain momentum to push some aspect of their rights forward that may have been infringed on.

Women fall under that category. The concept of woman is a controversial one in feminist circles for good reason. Even if a materialist approach recognizes that the category has social weight, it does not mean that all people falling under that umbrella experience being a woman the same way, face the same struggles, or even consider the term to have the same meaning.
This is a great example of linguistic shortcut that has a political aim, and understands its intrinsic contradictions. The benefits seem to outweigh the costs depending on the context.
Other linguistic shortcuts are used often to carry a similar momentum.
The ends justify the means, and we accept that the shortcomings of such shortcuts are a necessary ill to fight an uphill battle.

The problem is that knowledge also gets disseminated this way.
People who had the intention of carrying a complex message through a simple memetic package had that complexity in their mind and stayed careful when they were asked to formulate their thoughts in more detail.
But this is not what gets disseminated the most. Television interviews, soundbites, memes, quotes do not allow for such a complexity.
And since most of the accessible knowledge is that simple (simple ideas carry faster, easilier and reproduce more than complex ones), we end up with many proponents of that simple idea who take it at face value as opposed to the careful flawed reduction that it is.

This is where our orgasm comes in.

I read an article recently that proposed that even though a man could focus on a woman’s pleasure, it may still be testimony of his sexism.
The idea has political appeal.
Real life appeal too. We’ve all had that encounter with the sleazy creep who proposes to give you orgasms, when really, what he’s saying is that he wants to have sex and wants to bait you into it by thinking that orgasm is an obvious tradeoff, with no actual intention or capacity to follow through on it.
It’s usually more of a way to impose his sexual prowess than a true desire to be selfless.
But at the same time, the simple profession of such a desire isn’t in iteself problematic.

The article basically states that men want to offer orgasms to feel rewarded. And this may very well be entranched in gendered scripts about male sexual prowess. But that’s the thing. That’s a filter.
Everyone feels that way about partner pleasure.
The question of reciprocity may be influenced by gendered scripts, but it is still a concern for men and women in heterosexual encounters.
We all want our partners to feel sexually pleased, and it’s not all out of selfless love.
We want to feel validated because sexuality is a very vulnerable time, and we seek any reassurance that comes our way. We also seek to have the encounter again, possibly. What better way to make sure that you’ll have sex again than doing it well enough that it’s enjoyable to the other partner. This does not mean we should feel pressured into faking orgasms, but we also shoudln’t demonize people for wanting to feel validated.


This is where I think it’s important to draw an important distinction that isn’t made often enough.
People cannot be equated to their place in a system, or to how the system affects them.
We are fundamentally more similar than we are different, and the differences that exist do not have to dictate our actions.
Furthermore, participation in the system is relatively mandatory, lest you feel ready to actively fight it.
We can’t blame people born in a system for partaking in it unconsciously.
We can seek to change that system, and we can try to let people see what they are doing so they become more conscious.
But demonizong people over it is a shortcut that doesn’t help us see what can truly be done about a situation.
For instance, considering the urge to feel validated into giving orgasms is fundamentally sexist, and thus makes the person doing it sexist too, is missing the point of the human experience.

It’s a useful template to motivate someone to possibly change their ways, but it certainly doesn’t tell them how to change, since the urge is human to begin with.
We already know that there is an orgasm gap between cis men and women. Women have less orgasms on average than men ( roughly 60% for heterosexual women against roughly 85% for heterosexual men).
Striving to change the gendered scripts may change how men view orgasms and promote better reasons for them to recirpocate. But it won’t change the fact that people care about pleasure reciprocity, and that caring about it isn’t a selfless desire.
Asking people to be anything but human isn’t realistic, and it’s not helping. This means that we need to stop conflating the gender axis, which provides filters of signification, and gender as a cause.

On this note, some women get the orgasm they desire and that’s just wholesome: http://hystericalliterature.com/

Garcia, J. R., Lloyd, E. A., Wallen, K., & Fisher, H. E. (2014). Variation in orgasm occurrence by sexual orientation in a sample of US singles. The journal of sexual medicine, 11(11), 2645-2652.
Frith, H. (2013). Labouring on orgasms: embodiment, efficiency, entitlement and obligations in heterosex. Culture, health & sexuality, 15(4), 494-510.

On Shaming in the polyamorous community

I’m so done with poly-shaming:
“If you love someone you’re not possessive. True love is not the desire to possess”…

I come accross this sort of comment on facebook group dedicated to help and support new members of the community, as a response to cries for help. It happens too often.

Polyamory is nowhere near mainstream yet. Which means people are raised (for the most part) in a society that only promotes one type of love, one type of relationships, and idealises it until it is all you can see, all you desire.
Success, in your mind, is the capacity to fulfill that ideal, and it will feel good when you do.

But humans are also programmed to respond to other types of stimuli, and being surrounded with all types of love, many relationships can also feel very very good.
For many long-term practicioners of Polyamory, it can feel so wonderful and fulfilling.

The missing gap here is that it takes a crazy amount of work.

you will probably have to break yourself over and over to reform what you considered to be ideals.

You will have to break what you thought was love, and what you thought was self-love.

It takes time, it takes hurting, it takes learning.

The process is sometimes a dirty one, but you can come out on top, and discover emotions you never thought you could feel.
And you can also fall off the wagon, because relationships are also messy, and people are not perfect, and we hurt one another even if we don’t always want to.

Some people become quite good at transitioning, and feeling compersion for one another.
Others were much luckier.

They seemed born this way.
Whatever happened, they never had a problem having compersion, and letting go of other people.

And that’s truly wonderful.

But then they fail to have compersion for other people outside of their polycules. They judge harshly people who struggle to find these burgeonning emotions in themselves, and  get carried away in the difficult path. Fall off the wagon.

For a community who prones compassion and compersion, what a disconnect! What judgement!

I came accross the comment up top, one morning:

“If you love someone you’re not possessive. True love is not the desire to possess”…

That’s not the full comment, i don’t want to put it exactly as it was, because I wish for this person to remain anonymous. They’re not the point, and I don’t wish them harm. I just want to fuel a reflection on the topic.

TRUE Love  … There is no “true” love. There are people, connections, past, traumas, memories, moments.

Neurological reactions

Two people do not live the same thing, even in a relationship. What is more, it is possible to live many emotions at the same time, including Compersion and jealousy.We are not monolithic, and we can have fears desires, which are not rational.

To want to possess someone is to want to respond to insecurities, and it is natural. We may want to work on it, try to refrain from guiding the life of the other  because of our own insecurities, to grow, but that does not make the emotion as such “bad”. And that certainly does not invalidate any love there may be.

There must be no confusion between abusive relationships which are indeed ONLY based on the desire to possess, and which consider that they are entitled to, with  relationships that have as one component among others: the desire to possess.

This kind of judgment is not positive, and it makes it difficult for those who are new to communicate these feelings. It also makes their progress more difficult if they aim to diminish this kind of possessiveness. One does not improve if one has to be made invisible and repress difficult feelings because the host community tends to be recalcitrant towards the less experienced members. It’s pure and simple shaming.

It’s ableism, and it considers that neurotypicals (or a specific ideal of them) are the desirable norm.
I am more and more disappointed with marginal communities I come accross who simply reproduce mainstream oppressive structure, with their name tag on top.

[Edit: someone pointed out that I am not clearly enough laying out how ableism is at play. Here is a bit of the answer.

Ableism is at play here in that it promotes a view of the possibles and expected from everybody, based on a normative and ultimately impossible ideal of mental health.

It shames people for not living up to it without flaws.

It also assumes that the work to put in to repress possessiveness requires the same energy for everybody, and demonises those who struggle to maintain this level of energy.

This does not minimize in any way the emotional labor being put in by people who are neuroatypical. In fact, it is a recognition of that work and of its great cost.]

Be better, accept flaws and novelty.
Accept failures and attemps.
Accept pain and difficulty.
Use the compassion you so often preach.


De la femme à la mère – Partie 1

Étrange monde que le nôtre pour y faire pousser un marmot.
Énorme responsabilité que celle de créer un environnement favorable à un enfant, que de lui donner ce qu’il y a de mieux quand le reste du monde semble s’acharner à te compliquer cette tâche.
Égoïste geste que de choisir d’être parent quand cela signifie que ton enfant se retrouve balancé dans un système qui déteste et rejette toutes les différences, quand ces différences sont pourtant ce qui construit le système.

Toute cette histoire de féminité, de maternité, puis de parentalité aura engendré chez moi un ouragan de questionnements, et semé les graines de réflexions infinies sur ce qu’implique cette aventure d’un point de vue individuel et sociétal. On remarque bien que les jeunes parents semblent n’avoir plus que des histoires de gosses à raconter ( et c’est souvent relou pour les autres ), mais il faut l’avouer : c’est passionnant.

Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Pourtant le regard posé sur la maternité est erroné, parfumé âprement des fragrances d’un patriarcat qui n’y a pas sa place et d’une moralité surannée et rétrograde parfaitement difficile à vivre pour les nouveaux parents, et insupportable pour une femme.

Ce petit morceau de vie raconté ici reflète ma vision des choses et ne se veut en aucun cas être l’étendard de la vérité. Il s’agit de mon vécu personnel, mais qui, je le pense sincèrement, est un bon exemple de ce qui se trame en France, et de la façon dont la société pense la maternité.
Ces 10 commandements de ta vie de femme-mère sont les miens, et sûrement ceux de beaucoup d’autres femmes, et auront été ponctués d’absurdités moralisatrices et misogynes toutes plus ridicules les unes que les autres. D’en prendre conscience, avant, pendant et après contribue à mon sens à enrailler ce système désuet et dangereux.



PARTIE 1 : De la femme à la mère



1/Tu enfanteras. Et plusieurs fois.

Parce que apparemment, c’est un putain de devoir quand tu es une femme.

De mon côté, je n’ai jamais douté de cela. Je voulais faire un enfant. Résidu de mon éducation en solo avec un papa qui m’adorait et à qui j’ai donné vie autant que lui m’a donné naissance, ou semblant d’injonction sociétal ou hormonal imposé par mon corps et mon genre, peu importe. Le tout était cohérent et évident pour moi.
Passée la question de l’égoïsme assumé de cet acte, la sécurité de la solidité d’un couple qui nous donnerait un ciment heureux pour l’aventure, et nous nous sommes lancés. Idéal non ?

Sauf que je n’ai par conséquent jamais remarqué ces petites questions insidieuses qui parsèment la vie d’une femme. J’ai fait un enfant, ok. J’ai mis mon égoïsme devant le reste et j’ai balancé un môme dans un monde qui peine déjà à nourrir les siens.
Et à peine 6 mois après la naissance de mon fils, les premiers « et le deuxième c’est pour quand ? » ont doucement bourgeonné. Dans tous les milieux, toutes les bouches (des amis encore étudiants et sans le sous à la famille de classe moyenne bien éduquée en passant par ma prof de français-philosophie de collège)  : partout. Mon moral et mon utérus traînait encore au sol que tout mon entourage se jetait sur ce deuxième enfant imaginaire tandis que le premier, abordé comme un élément de décor joli mais bruyant, ne nous avait pas encore offert notre première nuit de sommeil.

Photo by Laercio Cavalcanti on Unsplash

Ce n’est pas la question de faire d’autres enfants qui me pose problème, mais bien l’obligation informelle qui en découle, et qui m’est épidermique.
C’est en écoutant cela avec mon oreille neuve que j’ai repensé à avant, quand la question sur les lèvres qui m’était adressée concernait mon premier enfant hypothétique. Si ça n’avait pas choqué la Morgane du passé, le trouble est grand aujourd’hui. Qu’en est-il de ma copine qui n’a jamais voulu d’enfants? À qui, dès la seconde, on assénait des «  tu changeras d’avis plus tard ! » ou des «  tu es encore trop jeune pour savoir » à sa décision? Qu’en est-il de mon copain homo qui veut des enfants mais qui doit se contenter de regarder les autres poser cette question à ma copine agacée et ignorée, sans jamais avoir l’opportunité d’y répondre lui-même ? Quand tu sais que la ligature des trompes est légale en France, mais refusée par la quasi majorité du corps médical parce-que « vous êtes jeune, vous pourriez changer d’avis et vouloir des enfants » ou pire «  Vous allez peut être finalement vouloir d’un deuxième, ou d’un troisième enfant, attendez donc votre ménopause ! ».

Une femme ne doit pas avoir d’enfants. Une femme doit pouvoir choisir la vie qui lui sied et cela n’a rien à voir avec le fait d’enfanter ou d’être mère, un point c’est tout.





2/ Tu emmerderas ton entourage pendant ta grossesse, mais tu t’en fous car tu seras épanouie.

« Et ça va, Morgane n’est pas trop chiante ? »
Par ce copain qui s’adresse à mon mec quand j’agonise en sanglotant du haut de mes 8 mois de grossesse, étalée sur le canapé comme un vieux cachalot échoué.
Sans déconner, cette phrase je l’ai entendue une bonne dizaine de fois pendant ma grossesse, de façon plus ou moins détournée.

Oui, j’étais chiante. Pas plus que ça, mais j’étais bourrée d’hormones et d’angoisses, coincée dans un corps qui n’était pas le mien et qui se transformait en prison au fil des mois, bannie de tous les plaisirs qu’on s’offre pour compenser habituellement le mal-être. Pas de bouffe, pas d’alcool, pas de clopes, et à la fin, même pas de possibilité d’aller pisser toute seule. Le sommeil se délite pour n’être qu’un vague souvenir et la jalousie s’enflamme sur mon mec qui peut glandouiller pépouse et ose se plaindre de mal dormir la nuit à cause de mes gémissements. Je ne sais pas quel genre de femme s’épanouit pendant sa grossesse, si ça arrive j’en suis heureuse pour elles, mais il faut arrêter de répandre ces clichés à tout le monde et de continuer de perpétrer cet idéal de sérénité et de féminité dans la maternité.

Alors, tu demandes parfois à internet si ce qu’il t’arrive est normal, et les sites comme MagicMaman, ou BabyCenter t’expliquent que c’est important de prendre conscience que tes maux ne sont rien comparés au bonheur d’être une future mère, de t’accorder du temps pour toi, de faire ta baby shower, ta manucure, et de ne pas oublier de sortir avec tes copines faire du shopping pour te détendre. (!!)
Quand tu as la chance de pouvoir avoir de jeunes parents dans ton entourage (ce qui n’était pas du tout notre cas alors), tous semblent victimes d’amnésie collective et t’assurent que tu oublieras tout une fois venue la naissance du bébé. Je pense sincèrement que la faute incombe encore une fois à notre société, construite de tabous, qui t’interdit de t’éloigner de ce moule patriarcal, archaïque et désuet qui impose aux femmes d’être mères en leur assurant que c’est la seule façon pour elles de s’épanouir.

C’est faux, et c’est inadmissible de continuer de propager ces stéréotypes. La grossesse n’est pas un moment qui doit forcément se vivre bien, et rassurez-vous, ce n’est pas grave. Ces 40 semaines chaotiques sont primordiales pour passer de l’état de femme à celui de mère, longues et courtes à la fois, et elles ne devraient en aucun cas être vécues en solo, tes angoisses prisonnières des tabous sociaux. Elles devraient être partagées, entendues, écoutées et transmises enfin. La grossesse n’est pas ce que l’ont croit, et d’en parler rendrait les futurs parents plus éveillés sur ce qui les attend, les futures mères justement plus épanouies et en phase avec le bouleversement qu’elles vivent ou vivront, et leur entourage plus compréhensif aux chamboulements vécus et donc à l’attitude empathique à adopter.




3/ Tu oublieras tout quand tu tiendras ton enfant pour la première fois dans tes bras.

La fatigue, exacerbée par les nuits blanches de tes derniers mois de grossesse, atteint son paroxysme à ce moment. Je crois que je n’ai jamais frôlé la folie d’aussi près de toute ma vie, et je doute m’encanailler encore avec elle de la sorte.

Je ne parle pas de l’accouchement qui est finalement le seul moment dont on parle à peu près honnêtement et auquel on s’attend. Ça fait mal, c’est long ( bon, oui, sauf ça, parce-qu’on pense que ça fait comme dans les films : pouf, tu perds les eaux, poufs, tu arrives à l’hôpital et pouf, quelques minutes d’agonie plus tard à insulter la sage femme ou ton mari qui te soutient, c’est fini!), c’est pas romantique, c’est hardcore, mais comparé à la grossesse, ça passe « vite », une petite quinzaine d’heures au bas mot pour un premier accouchement sans complication.

La suite en revanche. Quand on te pose ton enfant sur le ventre. Cet autre qui n’est plus toi. Toi qui a déjà bien galéré pendant 9 mois à accepter de vivre à deux dans un seul corps, qui a du apprendre à oublier ton intégrité. Tu te retrouves brutalement divisée, déchirée. Ton ego se transforme en alter ego et c’est un traumatisme.Tu n’oublies rien, rien du tout, et au contraire tu accumules. Alors oui, c’est beau, vraiment, c’est unique, c’est intense, mais c’est aussi irréel, parfois cauchemardesque, souvent très dur.

J’ai tout de suite «  reconnu » mon bébé et même si j’ai été complètement perdue et déboussolée, je l’ai accepté et aimé dès le début. Ce n’est pas le cas de tout le monde. Certaines femmes bloquent pendant un temps plus ou moins long (de quelques secondes à plusieurs jours, semaines, ou années dans des cas pathologiques) et n’identifient pas cet enfant comme étant le leur, comme étant réel. Certaines encore admettent plus tard que de faire un enfant était une erreur magistrale et ce malgré tout l’amour qu’elles lui porteront.

Ensuite, fourbue de douleurs, mon gros ventre vide pendouillant lamentablement entre mes seins gonflés et mon sexe déchiré que je n’osais plus toucher, emplie d’une fatigue d’une intensité inénarrable, je me suis dis que non, je n’oublierai jamais. Je suis passée par une jolie petite dépression post-partum légère que j’ai traité par la discussion avec mon cher et tendre, j’ai repris du poil de la bête, et je suis passée à l’étape suivante. Mais jamais je n’oublierai, et j’en parlerai autant que je le peux autour de moi.

Ta vie ne sera plus jamais la même, pour le meilleur et pour le pire. Ton Moi d’avant n’existe plus, il est transformé, transcendé. La grossesse te consume le corps, l’accouchement te déchire la chair, et les premiers jours ( voir semaines et mois ) te brisent l’esprit. Il est primordial de savoir cela, d’en prendre conscience et d’en parler avant d’évoquer enfin le bonheur de la reconstruction qui s’en suit et les apprentissages fantastiques qui ponctuent la vie des jeunes mères.
C’est une chose magnifique que cela, je me sens personnellement heureuse et amoureuse de cette nouvelle vie qui est la mienne, mais il est aberrant d’omettre de parler de la moitié de ce chemin, si l’on veut savourer l’entièreté de ce qu’il implique et offre.




4/ Tu apprendras à être mère, seule en 4-5 jours top chrono.

C’est le temps que tu passes à la maternité quand l’accouchement et les premiers jours se déroulent normalement. Tu seras accompagnée et « testée » : sauras-tu faire prendre son premier bain à ton enfant malgré les violentes contractions de ton utérus qui se reforme ? Parviendras-tu à changer les couches alors que tu n’oses pas quitter ton lit ? Parviendras-tu à allaiter ton enfant malgré un manque consternant d’informations et d’accompagnement, dans la douleur, l’angoisse et la culpabilité de ne pas y arriver ? Sauras-tu passer outre la déferlante chute d’hormones qui te plonge dans un état dépressif et quasi catatonique ?
Mieux enfin : Sauras-tu passer toutes ces épreuves, SEULE ?
J’étais la seule mère de la maternité, sur une vingtaine de jeunes et pimpantes mamans, à avoir mon mari avec moi. On a demandé -imposé- un lit de camp, et monsieur a squatté ma chambre toute la durée du séjour. Pas un seul bonhomme ne restait dormir, même la première nuit. Que ces messieurs bossent, soit, je comprends bien que la vie des autres n’est pas aussi libre que la nôtre ( mon mari ne bosse pas, il est père au foyer sans revenus, et c’est un choix volontaire – mais on y reviendra plus tard – ), mais comment est-il possible qu’on laisse les choses se dérouler ainsi ? Que ce soit le père, le compagnon ou la compagne, ou même un.e ami.e, ou de la famille, nous devrions toutes pouvoir être accompagnées sans avoir l’air de transgresser les règles des maternités ! Sans oser parler des 11 pauvres jours de congés paternité qui sont censé suffire à prendre ses marques en tant que père, à épauler la mère épuisée physiquement de son accouchement, et à se remettre de ses émotions…

Passée l’épreuve du séjour à la mater, dont j’ai à peine souvenir tant cela a été un calvaire, tu devras ensuite rentrer chez toi, et tout savoir faire. Dormir 4 fois par jour par à coups d’une heure. Compter les minutes sur la pendule qui te donnera le seul et unique repère temporel pendant au moins un mois. Accueillir les 120 membres de ta famille, tes amis, en étant dans un état lamentable. Si tu allaites, tu devras te cacher des regards ou essuyer des commentaire graveleux, si tu n’allaites pas tu seras répudiée et culpabilisée à la fois par ton propre regard, mais aussi par celui des autres, du carnet de santé de ton enfants, aux pubs pour lait infantile, ou à l’encart de ta PMI qui te démontrent à quel point ton enfant serait en meilleure santé si tu n’avais pas échoué.

Maintenant, connaissez-vous le syndrome du bébé secoué ?

Il survient lorsque l’on secoue violemment un bébé ou un jeune enfant, ce qui peut causer des lésions cérébrales importantes et être fatal. Chaque année, plusieurs dizaines d’enfants très jeunes en sont victimes, à la suite de secousses pratiquées par des adultes de leur entourage, le plus souvent exaspérés par ses pleurs (père, mère, nourrice…).

A première vue, comme ça, on se dit juste «  quelle horreur ! » ou «  comment peut-on en arriver là ? » ou même «  quelle bande de tarés ferait ça ? ». Et quand tu rentres chez toi, avec ton bébé, souvent avec un mec absent, tu comprends.
Coup de chance, ma sage-femme m’avait prévenue et m’avait dit que j’aurais envie de balancer mon bébé par la fenêtre (oui, ma sage-femme était exceptionnelle). Sur le coup je me suis dit « ben voyons ! », et quand j’y suis arrivée, je l’ai remercié de tout mon cœur de m’en avoir parlé de façon humaine et objective, car c’est grâce à cela que j’ai pu conscientiser mes gestes et mes pensées et contrôler la folie sous-jacente à l’asthénie.
Un humain, quand il est privé de sommeil trop longtemps ne se contrôle pas, ou mal, et peut friser la démence. Une mère, qui a traversé toutes ces épreuves, souvent seule, peut perdre le contrôle. C’est normal. Le sujet est grave, mais une fois abordé il peut être enrayé. Il faut impérativement parler de cela avec les femmes, futures ou récentes mamans, les sensibiliser elles, et surtout impliquer le reste de la société afin qu’elles puissent être accompagnées. Ça n’arrive pas qu’aux autres, aux cas sociaux, ou aux cas pathologiques. Nous, nous sommes des gens sains d’esprit et de corps, éduqués, et pourtant, j’y ai pensé, mon mari y a pensé, et c’est déjà énorme. Encore une fois, discuter, partager, transmettre est essentiel et contribue à faire évoluer et à mettre à jour ces tabous ridicules qui loin d’arranger les choses, les transforment en abcès. Ces tragédies peuvent être évitées si l’on prend simplement la peine de les énoncer, et qu’on commence à porter un regard empathique et humain sur toutes ces femmes perdues et délaissées, si on ne les force plus à avoir un enfant parce-que-c’est-comme-ça-et-puis-c’est-tout et qu’on abandonne pas une fois qu’elles sont mères.


C’est ce que je m’évertue à faire ici, et ailleurs, et ce malgré le regard mortifié de ceux qui reçoivent ce discours et qui me pensent probablement être une bien piètre maman d’avoir autant de mauvais souvenirs de cette période.




5/ Tu seras mère, tout en n’oubliant pas trop ton devoir conjugal non plus. Ni ta vie domestique. Ni ta qualité de femme, faut pas déconner.


J’ai « du bol », si on peut appeler ça comme ça le fait d’avoir un mec très présent, qui m’a accompagnée dans chaque étape de cette aventure, qui est pro féministe et avec qui je partage chaque aspect du quotidien. C’est môsieur qui m’a encouragée à arrêter de m’épiler ou de me maquiller si je n’en avait pas envie, de couper court à ce qu’on m’a appris devoir faire et être en tant que femme, et à vivre de la façon qui me procure du bien-être à moi et non aux autres. Ça devrait être normal et ne pas relever de la chance, mais dans la société dans laquelle on vit, en l’occurrence, j’ai du bol.

Ce n’est pas le cas de tout le monde, et le net regorge de forums recevant les témoignages de femmes désabusées et perdues, forcées par leur compagnon à ouvrir rapidement leurs cuisses à nouveau. J’ai été consternée quand j’ai pu lire des horreurs telles que « mon mari en a marre et a vraiment envie, depuis le temps qu’il se retient, le pauvre » à une nénétte ayant accouché quelques jours avant.

Le sexe, n’est-il encore aujourd’hui vu que comme l’assouvissement du plaisir des hommes, vraiment ?
Comment est-il possible de s’épanouir sexuellement quand les hommes sont élevés avec ces valeurs, et les femmes avec le devoir de s’y plier et de les perpétrer ? Comment peut-on continuer à nier nos choix, notre propre plaisir sous prétexte que c’est comme ça ? Comme le sexe est triste vu sous ce prisme…

Parce que c’est à ça que doit ressembler ta vie maintenant, tu es une mère, mais tu ne dois pas oublier d’être aussi une amante, et une « femme ».

MagicMaman ( encore lui ce coquin!) insiste : « tant pis si votre ménage n’est pas bien fait pendant quelques jours, prenez du temps pour vous, allez chez le coiffeur pour être désirable et vous sentir belle !». Mais va te faire foutre, MagicMaman ! Laisse moi et mes cheveux gras, mes cernes de 10 kilomètres, et mon ménage pas fait depuis 2 semaines tranquille ! Tu ne peux pas plutôt m’enjoindre de juste… communiquer avec mon mec et lui expliquer, dans le cas où ça ne lui paraîtrait pas évident, que mon froufrou vient de subir un gros choc et que lui et mon cerveau ne sont pas trop dans le mood ? Ne peux-tu pas t’adresser autant aux femmes qu’aux hommes en leur rappelant que les plaisirs sexuels n’impliquent pas forcément une pénétration, et qu’au pire, si ces messieurs sont vraiment en chien, il existe des techniques révolutionnaires qui n’impliqueraient qu’eux-même ? Ne peux-tu pas m’inviter à partager mes épreuves avec mes amis ? Souffler de la façon qu’il me sied sans impliquer forcément une paire de godasses neuves ou une manucure d’enfer ?

Je vous mets au défi de trouver le moindre site de conseils sur les bébés francophones qui s’adresse au père, ou au deux parents. C’est établi : on te tutoie, on te prends pour une pimbêche vénale et dépensière et on te parle au féminin uniquement. Dans notre cas c’était insupportable pour deux raisons : déjà car passé l’agacement relatif à la superficialité induite de ma personne, et ben, ça te fait culpabiliser, toi la mère qui ne t’occupe pas de ton enfant à plein temps.
Ce n’est pas moi qui reçoit la plupart des câlins, et non, ce n’est pas « maman » que mon fils a dit en premier ( il ne le dit d’ailleurs toujours pas). Ce n’est pas moi qui était la plus fatiguée car je me levait peu la nuit. Ce n’est pas dans mes bras que mon fils se réfugie quand il a peur, est triste, ou a mal. Voilà donc de quoi faire turbiner le cerveau et la culpabilité injustifiée de toutes ces mères qui ne sont pas le parent 1…
Et d’une autre part, n’oublions pas que cela nie également complètement l’éventuel rôle d’un père au foyer. Lui n’est mentionné nul part, ou seulement comme gros boulet qui ne comprend rien puisqu’il ne s’occupe pas du gosse, qui n’est ni doux ni patient, et qui ne pense qu’à queuter sa dame (si il n’est pas trop dégoûté de savoir qu’un bébé est passé par la porte de son temple privé).

Et encore, je suis mignonne avec mes agacements, mais je suis quand même bien tranquille dans mon couple de jeunes français blancs cisgenres et hétéros, hein, je passe au travers de moult filets injustes…
Tes seules solutions seront de passer outre ces subtilités de langages, ou de chercher du côté de sites anglophones qui ont tendance à parler aux parents de façon plus générale sans passer par le cliché de maman materne et papa bosse.

Bref, Mesdames, Messieurs, bousculez les règles, révolutionnez la société en secouant simplement l’intérieur de votre foyer. Partagez tout, et le monde s’en portera mieux.




Quand elle est réfléchie, choisie et partagée, la maternité est vraiment une aventure magique, unique, fabuleuse et d’une richesse incroyable. Elle est ce qui peut permettre de transcender un corps, un couple, un cœur, et apporte un bonheur incommensurable et si puissant qu’il est très difficile à expliquer.
Mais dans le meilleur des cas, avec des bases aussi saines et idéales, elle n’en reste pas moins extrêmement difficile, bien plus complexe que l’image qu’elle véhicule. La grossesse et la maternité sont dures, parsemées d’embûches et de doutes, et effroyablement mal connues. Elles sont une petite mort et un deuil violent de ce qui ne sera plus jamais, et bouleverse jusqu’au moindre atome du corps et de l’esprit d’une femme.
Il suffirait que chacun prenne le temps d’en parler, d’être compréhensif, ouvert et indulgent, et surtout honnête envers soi-même et dans son rapport aux autres pour débloquer bon nombre de situations tragiques, pour endiguer ces clichés obsolètes qui ne permettent aux femmes ni de choisir ce qui est bons pour elles, ni de les accompagner dans leurs choix.

Transgressez, communiquez, et révolutionnez ! Que vivre soit pour vous et non pour ce que vous devez supposément être. Ce ne sont que des petits pas, un joyeux mélange de riens, qui ne changent pas grand chose mais qui j’en suis sûre, contribuent à faire avancer ce grand tout.



Morgane Donval

One Woman’s Contra Dance Adventure

I have an early childhood memory of a tap dance class. My aunt offered to take me to one of my cousin’s classes. Unfortunately, all I remember is how I struggled to understand what to do with my feet. The evening concluded in tears and I did not show much interest in continuing.

In middle school, I gave dancing another shot. A friend invited me as a guest to her Jazz dance class. The dance school was in an old, classy building and the dressing room had classic Hollywood vanities with the globe-shaped light bulbs. I think I enjoyed the class, I don’t remember crying. However, I was very self-conscious the entire time.

In high school, I attended a few dances. I always felt relief when it was time for the Macarena and Cha Cha Slide because there were instructions and I know what to do. I’d spend the rest of the time in a circle of dancers, taking frequent breaks in between for wallflower duty.

In my second year of university, I was invited by my friend, Sarah, to go to a “Contra” dance. I had never heard of this before and I was not enthusiastic about dancing, but stepping outside my comfort zone was a top priority for me at the time.

The dance was held in the basement of a church located in Montreal’s Mile-End neighbourhood. I was hesitant, but definitely had fun. There was a live band, the community was very welcoming and many people were happy to help out beginners. In Contra, attention is never focused on an individual person and doing fancy moves is very optional, relieving much of the pressure I had felt in my previous dance experiences. The main thing that helped me get into it was the fact that there were instructions. At every stage of a dance, the steps are: find a partner, get in line, listen as the caller explains the dance steps, then repeat the same sequence for 10-15 minutes with music. The caller continues to give cues after the band starts playing, so you don’t need to worry about memorizing the steps. It is customary to switch partners after every song, which gives everyone the freedom to dance whenever they feel like it.

In recent years, it has also become common for people of any gender to dance any role. Traditionally, women are “ladies” and men are “gents”. Encouraging this practice has sparked a passionate debate about what gender-neutral terms should be used in place of ladies and gents. Popular alternatives include jets and rubies, larks and ravens, sharks and giraffes, etc. This abstraction has helped create more inclusive spaces and also makes dancing more fun, as it gives dancers more options.

These changes have not happened without creating inter-generational tension, but it is rewarding to take part of a living tradition. I enjoy listening to older Contra dancers talk about what was controversial 10-20 years ago because they are all things that are common place today.

As the months went on, I attended more dances with Sarah. I became better acquainted with other dance regulars over post-dance outings. I soon learned about another, very important, dance phenomenon: dance weekends. In particular, The Flurry Festival, a weekend festival that happens every year around Valentine’s Day in Saratoga Springs, NY, about four hours south of the Quebec-Vermont border. It is held in a large convention center, every room is booked with a dance, music workshop or fitness class. Though Contra is the main focus, events include dance and music styles from all over the world. It is a truly magical experience, and this year I’ve been 6 years in a row so far.

Today, I regularly attend many dance weekends and volunteer at my local Contra dance. My Contra wardrobe contains many fun skirts and dresses, taking up a large portion of my closet space. I’ve even started calling! Since embarking on my Contra dance journey, I have tried other daunting activities with enthusiasm and an open mind, something I never imagined myself doing before moving to Montreal. This is an attitude for which I am eternally grateful as it is present in all areas of my life.

For example, one of the highlights of 2018 for me was a trip Ireland. I rented a car and spent the first few days exploring County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. Among the many amazing experiences I had were two evenings of Irish set dancing. There are enough similarities with Contra that I could participate. I was able to dive right into the culture and had a blast in the company of locals.

While some of this can be attributed to learning and maturing over time, I don’t think the kind of personal growth I’ve experienced would have been possible without a supportive community. In my case, this community is a bunch of Contra dancers.

The dating conundrum: try being a Trans woman…



When you’re happily in a relationship, you forget what a privilege it is to share time and space with someone who is willingly doing it.

You can take for granted every little aspect of possibilities that get added when you are not a human alone.


Not everybody has these privileges, and there is an entire culture dedicated to trying to fix this gap. Dating apps, and websites, groups and events. Advice books and columns. Therapists, retreats, gurus, pickup artists.

Everyone has the magic solution, if you could just follow these easy steps.


The problem is, there isn’t actually a magic sauce.

Theoretically, you could see the strength in numbers. Statistically, the more you date, the more likely you are to find someone willing to spend some time with you, but there are some issues with this idea as well.

In truth, dating, and love, are fields just as intersectional, if not more, as the rest.

Attraction is the most justified scene of all our prejudices and cultural notions.

There are ideals of mates, and there follows a hierarchy of potential qualities, or lack thereof.


In dating we have the epitome or the nexus perhaps, of our cultural codes, put in action for their very own sake. This is where they come into light. Every other field within which hierarchies can form attenuates it by its own idiosyncratic set of norms.

For instance, the workplace does show to be influenced by racial or gendered norms. But those are only moderators over the norms of performance and the workplace hierarchy (however skewed and replicating patriarchy it lay be). You may be as normatively beautiful as you could, if your performance (or use of soft skills) is null, you may not last very long in that particular hierarchy.
However, dating is where all hierarchies take their meaning.

We are evolved.

Evolution pushed us in a direction of sexual selection.

How this one is done is a complex process which has become heavily codified by millenia of meaning making.

Regardless, at its base, we seek to maximise our profits when we select a mate that may also entail offsprings.

All the codes thus serve for us to find who may be the best fit as a potential mate.

Now, keep in mind, these are somewhat subconscious processes.

You may not look for someone to conceive with.

You may simply be looking to get laid.

But these are recent developments. The codes are a coat of paint on a very very old machine.


If dating is easy for you, this is wonderful news. But it may highlight a sort of privilege you may not have been considering.  

Your general adherence to the cultural ideals.


I had the chance to speak to a Metis Native, Trans lesbian woman, by her own identification.  

She did not want to be identified by name , however, this is how she depicts herself.


Having spoken to her, I believe this is actually pretty accurate.

She shared with me the specificity of her situation when  it comes to dating.

Her identity places her at the intersection of many axis of complexity.

Being Trans, fitting the normative ideal associated with cis femininity is an issue.
Being a lesbian, she struggles with the simple issue of finding partners that also identify  withing that sexual orientation, which is a minority to this day.

Being metis native, she struggles with latent issues of racism, namely the potential dismissal as a potential partner or the ftishisation of her identity.  


I initially responded to one of her posts on facebook, and she decided to answer my questions.

For the purpose of the article, let’s call her Mira.



I keep going to clubs thinking it’ll be fun and I’ll meet fun people. Optimistic me needs to stop being so fucking delusional, no one’s interested.



Mahault Albarracin :What kind of clubs do you go to?


Tonight specifically, Unity. Which now that I’m chill and not anxious and overthinking, makes it obvious. I don’t know why I was surprised no one cared I existed, it’s the Unity.

But generally, any place not straight.


Mahault Albarracin: What do you mean no one cared? no one came to pick up on you?


Just a generalized experience. No one ever seems “into me” or and anxiety makes me think people move away when dancing because I’m bothersome or ugly or something, which I know is just my mind being a jerk. Not that I would care normally, it would even suit me that no one would approach me in any other situations. But seeing others in my life getting approached so often and so easily makes me feel like there’s something wrong about me.

Of course, this is almost made worse by being aware that this is purely just extrapolation and exaggeration of my mind trying to justify my lack of luck, when it’s very likely just that, lack of luck and me just not encountering people who are interested by people like me, probably. Chances are I didn’t do anything wrong at all, and neither did anyone. They’re just not interested in me. Me attempting to be social, dressing nice, dancing well, etc. will do nothing to change that.

Ah, the joy of ease of access to social media when being emotionally compromised.

My relation to dating in general is very, well, dull in a way. I’ve simply just never been very lucky save for one absolute blessing (which honestly is also not perfect, and things I can’t change still affect this relationship in ways that are hard to handle.)

One thing I figured with time is that luck, coincidences, or lack of either is the primary source of relationships.

There is inevitably someone somewhere that is into what and who you are. And I’m not talking about somewhere in the world, but somewhere locally. But the chances of them meeting you in a context where you’re both emotionally available, with the proper will to meet someone new, and good circumstances giving a reason to socialize with them are low.

Some people are luckier than other, whether social and emotional availability is more common for them due to their nature (extrovert traits, neurotypism, natural attractiveness, etc)

Others, which is basically my case, have the opposite of luck. I’m not particularly visible/noticeable nor beautiful. I’m an introvert by nature. I’m on the autism spectrum. Dressing well, developing dancing skills, and so on to attract people doesn’t really work in my case. I’m surrounded with people who are sexually successful, with people consistently being attracted to them. Some of which being of the lucky type, but others being like me technically with only slight variants. Which brings my mind to wander in odd places.

I’m autistic, ‘gifted’, trans, and lesbian. I guess whatever mixes best haha

I’d say this is very much so a direct result of what happens when high intellect, queerness and and desire to be sexually active crosses path.

Having strong logic and analysis skills makes handling a biological/emotional situation worse, sometimes. Because you know exactly what causes you to feel the way you do, but it also means you’re aware there’s nothing you can do about it. Ignorance can truly be bliss, I suppose.

Very often, I become victim of what I jokingly call “nerdzoning”. People connecting so strongly on an intellectual level with me that they cannot see themselves being physical with me.

Thank you for your interest in my experience by the way, it’s odd to have someone be interesting in my nerdy rant against the dating world.


As you can see, dating is a function of how one perceives themselves in a complex dynamic web of interconnected codified interaction cues.

Even within the circles that advertise themselves as open to your specific brand of existence, it does not mean you will actually fit the norms.

Every scene has its own set of specific hierarchy idiosyncrasies as well.

You can see this in Bear gay bars, or Kink clubs for example. The types most favored differ with the sub-community you are part of. Nonetheless, certain greater ideals always shine back through the tapestry and make it difficult for some people to connect.


The ending of this article may seem bleak, but the truth is I’m not sure yet how to get around this.

As I mentioned before, attractions seem pretty justified for those who live them, and are often subconscious processes.
Being aware of our own prejudices is a first step, but I’m not certain it actually changes the way you perceive others along this codified hierarchy.

Perhaps it will allow you to see other people for who they are on your own hierarchy, one that you choose, as opposed to one chosen for you.

Knowledge is power after all.

Fostering freedom

– How we get hung up

For the longest time, I’ve noticed myself sighing. I look outside and it feels like it calls to me. I think of where I am, and I get an anxiety attack. I think of what I’m doing and I start questioning my every choices, even if I entered them with passion.
I crave motion, change. I think we all do. Excitement keeps us alive.
But just as I crave it, I’ve also always followed the path laid out before me.
I went to school my entire life, chased the grades. I tried to be an achiever of other people’s benchmarks.

Slowly, this became the only available reality.

When I thought about my options, there really only was the one path.
That’s when you get this odd cognitive dissonance. You see the path before you and it feels like the only way, but at the same time, something calls to you. It drives you crazy, makes you miserable.

You start feeling claustrophobic, trapped. And you’re not really sure why.

After all, if this is the only choice, you must be succeeding. Isn’t this what we all want? To succeed?

But what’s success? Is it empty titles? Or is it ultimately happiness?

Don’t get me wrong, they ARE correlated.
But not in the wrong way. Following an empty title, forgetting to have it bring you to your ultimate goal won’t bring you happiness.
The question really is: What is your ultimate goal?


– Socialisation to root

Before we tackle this important question, let’s discuss why we get hung up this way.

For everyone, but perhaps more specifically for women, society dictates a fixed set of rules.  Who you should be, what you should look like, who you should be with.
And those rules aren’t meta rules either. They’re usually very strict scripts with concrete examples bombarded in the media.

In fact, you can see yourself clearly in a template of a life.

How many women have I heard desiring the white picket fence in principle, but when questioned, realising they had no real intention to fulfill the smaller goals that would allow it to happen.
These scripts are especially restricting for women because they are in part meant to subordinate.
As woman, you must be subordinate to the men around you, to your duties as a life bearer towards society, and generally as a gatekeeper of your contextual values. You are also encouraged to tie yourself to many more people, women are social animals, community pillars, bearers of responsibility. These can become heavy, and keep you from freedom.

To add to this, our idealized notion of success is simplified to a parable, we forget to interpret because of the pressure to achieve it.

So for me, this translated into believing I had to go to university, and continue studying until I found a job.
But this script had no real end, because I had no real goal.

I had never stopped to consider what I may want for myself, since I’d always followed a script.
This loop thus led me nowhere, and i continued to follow it for infinity, since leaving it meant reaching an unknown.
And we are not socialised to handle the unknown.
We are socialised to project known everywhere, to seek out the known. The normative.  So once again, it’s worth asking, if you accept the unknown, and look into your own unknown, what do you want?

In this sense, freedom can take many forms. It can be unshackling yourself from your roots, or it can simply be ensuring more wiggle room for yourself to make meaningful decisions.  

-Main factors to take into account

Once you’ve figured that part, the hardest is nowhere near over. But at least you can start to draft a plan.

What should this plan take into account?

I found that the main aspect to consider was financial security. This will entail not having to be dependant on anyone, and feeling secure enough that you can make decisions based on other factors than survival.  But this can take many forms for many people.
For some, it means securing a job you’ll be able to take with you. For others, it means reducing your expenses to the bare minimum, and relying on social networks. Whatever it is, it usually is the first step.
Once you have this base, calm sets in, and you can see father, and allow unexpected to hit you.


The second aspect is usually emotional ties.How will you handle change in relation to the ties you have. Can the people in your life accept that you will now effect some decisions? Will they accept a form of distance, however it may manifest?

Or could they follow you? Is this something you want? Would you relinquish a part of your freedom to maintain certain ties?

You will have to make compromises, and some of them will be hard. But the relationships worth keeping are those that are flexible enough to allow you to grow and move without fearing to be lost.

Then come the legalities. Those are mostly related to travel, but they can also apply to getting out of the normative lifestyle you are in now. Perhaps you wish to get off the grid. Perhaps, no matter your choice, you need certain papers, and those can be hard to come by, or the process can be difficult and long.

Thinking about this is important, but can be done calmly once you have everything else settled.

-It’s always better tomorrow

Now you’re all settled. What’s the hold up?

Well, we tend to be afraid to enact change. We think about it, we plan it out carefully. But this is simply to push it away longer.
You know you could go. You know you could make that change, but it’s so comfortable here. Your existential angst is bearable, when compared to the fear of the unknown.

But this comfort is an illusion. It’s a defense mechanism to pull you to sleep. There’s a reason you wanted this change to begin with. And the more you wait, the more you teach yourself that this is who you are. That you can’t really do it.
The more you put off your goals, the more you become this person who can’t. You identify to it.
But it’s not true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Who you are, is you want to be, give or take a few privileges.

Mostly if you have the means, use them. You CAN break free, if you listen to your initial desires.
If you stop silencing the voice that went counter to the normative scripts.

-Dealing with Fear

Now, we’ve mentioned it several times before. Fear is probably your greatest enemy here.  You fear the unknown, and you fear the potential knowns that you dislike.

The what if.

But you can also realize that your entire life has gone by with you not actually really knowing what was coming next. You had a script you were following, but there was no certainty the script would actually come to fruition. We’re not on a treadmill. In fact, you probably had to work hard to get to where you are today. You pulled resources you didn’t know you had sometimes.

This is all well and good, and you can tell yourself this rationally, but fear won’t just go away. That’s an ableist illusion.

You’re not doomed to stay in fear however.
You can first try to expose yourself to what other people have done. A bit like you’re doing now.
You can help yourself by using other scripts. It’s ok to have scripts, but you should be able to get in and out of them freely. Broadening the range of available scripts is a positive tool.

Look for blog posts about travelers, or relevant changes you wish to enact.
Find groups and communities, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask beginner questions. That’s why these groups even exist.

Then, you can inoculate yourself slowly. Test out the change with little increments. We will discuss this at the end.

– Steering towards motivation

All of this process is inspiring, and fulfilling. But it’s also emotionally costly. Even if, at first, the novelty of it all will be enough to keep you going, this will soon run out. Remember, we are talking about a change in paradigm. It’s possible that all of the spheres of your life will be affected by this change in some way or other.

Those changes may also limit your access to the resources you took for granted. It’s not necessarily bad. Some of our anchors look like good things at first. They push us to be afraid to lose something. But there are other resources out there. You just need to be open to stepping outside.

All this being said, there is a way for you to maintain motivation, without emotionally running out.  This is achieved through goal setting.
Small goals, and larger goals. Keep yourself moving by setting small landmarks that you can reach easily. This will give you validation and a sense of motion.

But also, set something larger that you can look at and makes you want to get up. Don’t be afraid to dream big. It sounds like a pseudo-psychology life coach advice, but it’s true.  Bigger dreams have more fuel in them to keep you going while you through your smaller goals.  And maybe your biggest dream isn’t the one you initially thought.

For instance, I’ve always wanted to be a singer. Honestly, so have most people who grew up on The Voice.  And that’s not realistic because I’m focusing on one path that could lead me to my real goal, instead of finding what I could do to really take me there. But my overarching goal can be big, and inspiring. I want to be happy, blissful, fulfilled.

And I can be, with the right tools and aim.

-Not giving up on leads even if intangible at first

Now here’s where it gets slightly tricky. Not everything you will try will go smoothly. In fact, a lot of it might seem like it’s failing. And it could be tempting to just give up. Now that you are becoming more free, it’s easy to think that spreading yourself and trying a million things is just part of that freedom. And in a sense it is, but that is thinking on the short term.
If you keep spending spending your resources on endeavours that you do not see through, you will run out, and be left with only your older options.

Besides, it’s true that it never feels good to “fail”. We are hooked on a vision of ourselves, and it crushes our soul when it is reflected negatively.

But you’re not failing.

Think of the first steps you took. You didn’t run at first (or maybe you did, and koodos to you). At first you fell a lot. And that was part of learning. It taught you where the limits of your balance were, and how to calibrate.  That’s how you must see the difficulties of the beginning of your path. Opportunities to grow, and refine your technique. Every hurdle will teach you something valuable. Continue on your path.

At some point, it’s acceptable to let go and try something else.  You’ve just got to look inside yourself and and ask if you really gave it your all before you let go.

– Accepting to start small

On that note, it’s important to understand that your path cannot start as the rockstar you want to be. You will have to accept to receive less than you intend at first. It’s even probable you will receive nothing at all to get your name out.
No matter the sphere, you’ll have to start small. By starting small, you start faster, and get a foot in whatever it is you’re seeking. You’ll learn about the culture, and you’ll adapt, integrating the habitus of the sphere you are eyeing.

I hope with this article, you have a bit of a better grasp on how to begin your journey to freedom.

As mentioned, it isn’t easy. It isn’t quick. But it is rewarding.  And it might just be what you need.

What are your experiences of reaching freedom? How has it impacted your life, and how have you done it?

Share your story below 🙂





Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

No Hablo Español: Part 1

4th December  2018

I recently started reading America Ferrera’s masterpiece, American Like Me, a compilation of short stories from well known multicultural Americans who detail what it was like growing up in between two cultures. Reading these stories and feeling such a connection to these voices brings me so much peace and joy and who doesn’t want some of that this time of year?! Feeling inspired, I decided to write my own “American Like Me” series that will detail what it was like for me growing up in a multicultural household and how it shaped me into the woman I am today. I am going to call this series (and hopefully my future book) “No Hablo Español” so please stay tuned for my future posts as I plan on doing this series in parts! In the meantime, enjoy Part 1.

Part #1

“Olivia, get to the ball!” my father’s heavily accented and frantic voice rings in my ears.

My cheeks sting, both with embarrassment and by the wind whipping them as I race across the soccer field, my chubby legs desperate to reach the ball before that lanky girl from the other team…

As a child, soccer was something my father and I shared. He coached every single one of my soccer teams until I started playing on traveling teams, and we would spend hours watching soccer games together, yelling at the TV until my father would throw up his hands in frustration and walk out of the room, convinced his favorite team was losing because he was watching. I even remember one year, we stood outside early in the morning, shaking the pole the satellite dish sat atop, because we were not getting the specific channel we needed to watch the World Cup. Summer evenings were spent riding our bikes to the park with our neighborhood friends and scrimmaging, all the kids against my dad.

When I started playing soccer at around five years old, I showed a lot of potential. I was strong and could kick the ball harder and further than any girls my age. I had spent my early years practicing tricks in the yard with my father and watching our favorite European and South American teams play on Telemundo (American teams don’t know how to play real soccer) so I could easily maneuver the ball away from my opponents. However, as I aged, nothing seemed to compensate for the fact that I was short and kind of chubby. My legs, no matter how hard I tried, just could not beat out the naturally tall and lean girls I kept finding myself up against. If I somehow magically “got to the ball” first I could usually keep it with a couple of foot tricks but those opportunities were few and far between. As I got older and soccer became more competitive, my time on the bench seemed to increase more and more until I quit because it just didn’t seem worth it anymore.

My father has always expected a lot from me, as is the case with most immigrant parents and he was never quiet about these expectations, as the above story illustrates.  I learned early on that my father expected more of me than my parent’s friends expected of them. This mostly had to do with academia and ensuring that I pushed myself to reach my full potential but it definitely applied to other aspects of my life. My father had a way of “teasing” that other kids didn’t understand and that shaped my self image in a not so great way (I in no way blame my father for this as I realize now his intentions were never to hurt me and that this was his own way of showing affection but I also am self aware enough to realize it affected how I see myself today).

If I brought home an A- he would ask why it was not an A, if I missed a single question on a test he would remind me how I had gone out one night instead of studying, and if I complained about feeling left out on a new soccer team or in a Spanish class he was paying for, it was always because I was not pushing myself enough to be outgoing. He always would do this in a semi joking manner so I really couldn’t accuse him of being too tough on me, and his advice was always on the pretense of making me better, but in some odd way, it still made me feel bad about myself. I cannot tell you how many times my mother sat at the edge of my bed comforting my sensitive soul, with her usual line, “he’s just teasing Olivia”. I know now from talking to other children of immigrants that I am not  alone in this experience and it is actually very common.

I always seemed to be “too much” for him. I always seemed to be too loud when I should have been quiet and too shy when I should have been outgoing. I was expected to navigate cultural norms that were never taught to me and I remember sobbing after my dad yelled at me when I did not jump up to hug a great uncle who I didn’t even know and who I could not communicate with because I did not speak Spanish. I understand now he was dealing with his own feelings of raising a family in a culture so different from his own but it definitely left me with a feeling of never being enough. I didn’t realize how much I craved a simple “I’m proud of you” until he said these words with no follow up in his toast at my wedding and I bawled like a baby  (I am crying just writing it).

I give my dad all the credit in the world. He is aware of a lot of his mistakes and is working to remedy them. We now have a much healthier adult relationship and I have been blown away by how he has changed and improved as a father and a man. My father also instilled in me some of the traits I am most proud of. I am a hard worker because he taught me to be, I am ambitious, and focused because he taught me to be. I would never be the strong Latina woman I am today without his guidance.

I’ve been through a lot of therapy to work through some of my issues with anxiety and depression (and I would soooo suggest you try it). For some reason we kept coming back to my father. Guess what? We are ALLLLL fucked up by our parents. Some of us who are more sensitive are more fucked up than others but no one gets through their childhood without some battle scars. I discovered I crave my father’s approval more than anything and it has been very limiting and a hurdle I am learning to overcome. I am amazed at my father’s ability to immigrate to a new country, learn a new language and become the successful man he is today. As a child, and still today, my father hung the moon and I am so proud to be his daughter. In a way, my pride in my father also aided in making me feel unworthy of his sacrifice. I don’t blame my father or myself for feeling like this. We are all a product of our childhood but it’s jarring to discover your parents are people too who make mistakes.

I would suggest exploring your own scars and really looking into how they shape the person you are today, especially if you are a child of an immigrant. Approach your childhood and your parents not from a place of bitterness but from a desire to learn and grow. While my father’s high expectations and how he expressed affection definitely contributed to some of my adult issues, he also gave me the education and resources to pursue help that will allow me to learn and grow from these experiences. I now am more confident in who I am than I ever was and for that I have to thank my father.